Headlines: Aug. 15, 2023

· The Pulse
  • Postmedia columnist Keith Gerein wrote that a proposed new funding formula for the Edmonton Police Service is "nearly identical" to the existing formula, which some councillors likely "won't be thrilled with." The proposed formula bases increases in police funding based on population growth and specialized inflation rates, doesn't allow for funding to decrease, and allows police to request additional funding due to unexpected costs. Councillors asked administration last year to examine options to modify the existing formula to increase police accountability, encourage budget efficiencies, and incentivize outcomes such as better response times and improved discipline. However, in a report going to council on Aug. 23, administration wrote that a "funding formula is not the correct tool to change the overall level of police funding or alter the policing model," adding that additional governance tools would be needed to address concerns about police service delivery.
  • Sports radio will return to Edmonton airwaves with the launch of Sports 1440 on Sept. 5, anchored by The Kevin Karius Show in the morning and The Jason Gregor Show during the afternoon. The station is a collaboration between Stingray Radio, Gregor's Just A Game Productions, and The Nation Network. Edmonton has been without a sports-focused talk radio station since Bell Media suddenly shut down TSN 1260 on June 14.
  • Despite a wet start to the weekend, organizers said the 2023 Edmonton Folk Music Festival was a success. Producer Terry Wickham credited the efforts of city crews and volunteers who worked to pump out pools of water and put down sand to get the grounds ready for the thousands of festival attendees. "A lot of people are saying I wish all the festivals would come here and learn how to do a festival," said Wickham.
  • Officers with the Canada Border Services Agency in Edmonton recently discovered two live tarantulas that were hidden inside packages shipped from Hong Kong, including one found in a child's toy. While permits were not required to import the spiders into Canada, they were seized because they were not transported humanely. The tarantulas are now being cared for in their new home at the Royal Alberta Museum.
  • PrimeTime Donair & Poutine has won the government surplus auction for a donair costume with a final bid of $16,025. The provincial government originally purchased the costume in 2015 for a traffic safety video that was never made.
  • The Summerside Residents Association issued an apology after fireworks malfunctioned during their annual summer carnival show at Lake Summerside and unexpectedly shot towards spectators. "We turned our heads and saw they exploded all around us and people were screaming," said Justin Hume, who caught the incident on video. In a statement, the association said an investigation is ongoing and that no major injuries have been reported. "We apologize for the negative experience and the disappointment this has caused for our community members," the association said.
  • Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh visited Edmonton on Aug. 14 to speak with local families struggling to find affordable housing. Singh said that when compared to countries with similar-sized economies, Canada has had the fastest increases in housing prices and rents. The party is proposing several solutions to tackle the issue, including tax breaks for affordable home builders, the construction of non-market housing, and an acquisition fund to help municipalities and community organizations to buy and maintain affordable housing.
  • In a piece for CBC First Person, Edmonton artist Carla Rae Taylor wrote that painting a mural in an underground pedway was a valuable use of her time and creativity, despite the likelihood it could be defaced. "I still believe that offering messages of hope through the artwork will perhaps touch people living in dire conditions and also inspire all walks of life to connect with nature and celebrate the beautiful tapestry of multiculturalism that we are all a part of," Taylor wrote. The 127-foot YEG Dignity mural was created by 15 local artists working under Taylor's leadership and was a collaboration between Taylor, the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights, and Edmonton Transit Service.
  • The Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival is returning for the first time since the pandemic with a one-day event at Telford Lake in Leduc on Aug. 20. The festival will host 15 dragon boat teams competing in three 500-meter races throughout the day.